BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo wrestling team begins the 2018-19 season on Thursday night at Wisconsin. After battling through an injury-riddled season a year ago, a veteran squad looks to return to the double-digit victory season it enjoyed in 2016 and 2017.
The Bulls have six seniors in their projected lineup all of whom have a lot of experience. Leading the way are Kyle Akins and 125, Bryan Lantry at 141 and Jake Gunning at 285. All three are fourth-year starters.
Akins, a 2017 national qualifier, went 22-10 overall and 10-4 in duals a season ago. He has a career record of 63-29 and is 29-10 all time in duals.
After qualifying three straight years for the NCAA Championships at 133 lbs., Lantry will make the move up a weight class to 141 this season. Lantry looks to cap his great career with the one thing that has eluded him, a Mid-American Conference Championship. He has advanced to the MAC title match in each of the last two seasons.
Gunning won the MAC Championship at 285 lbs. in 2017 and, after finishing fourth a year ago, is looking to regain his spot on top of the podium this season. Gunning has a career dual record of 38-11, including an 11-1 mark last year.
Senior Jason Estevez was granted a sixth year of eligibility and will compete at 149 lbs. Estevez has won eight duals in each of the last two seasons.
Other seniors in the lineup include Brett Perry and Alex Smythe. Like Lantry, Perry is moving up a weight class to 197 from 184. He has been a steady contributor over his career, with 18 career dual wins.
Smythe redshirted last season, but had arguably the best offseason of anyone on the team. In June, he upset Wisconsin's Evan Wick to earn a spot on the U23 World Team, becoming the first UB wrestler to make the team.
After redshirting last season, redshirt-sophomore Derek Spann returns to the lineup at 133. Troy Keller, a junior transfer from Niagara County Community College, is slated to start at 165. Also new to the lineup are redshirt-freshman Jake Lanning at 174 and redshirt-sophomore Logan Rill at 184.
The 84th season of UB wrestling begins on Thursday night at Wisconsin. The dual is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm EST and is available on BTN2GO.